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Tiger, tiger still burning bright -

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BRENDAN TREMBATH: An international campaign has begun to save the tiger.

The World Bank is working with Asian Governments and conservation groups to stop the rapid decline
in tiger numbers in the wild.

Also joining the effort are actors Harrison Ford and Bo Derek, who've told The World Today, of
their deep concerns about the future of the animals.

Washington Correspondent Michael Rowland prepared this report.

(Sound of children 'roaring' like a tiger)

MICHAEL ROWLAND: Local schoolchildren looking into the Great Cats enclosure at Washington's
National Zoo today got something more than they bargained for.

Actor and conservationist Harrison Ford was there to help promote a global effort to save what's
fast becoming a threatened species.

MICHAEL ROWLAND: Can I ask you just how concerned you are about the future of the tiger?

HARRISON FORD: I am concerned about the future of the entire animal community and human community
as well. The focus on tigers today is a critical opportunity to talk about tigers and talk about
the communities in which the places in which they live and the others who share that environment -
humans included.

MICHAEL ROWLAND: And it's humans who are the main target of the new initiative.

De-forestation, development and illegal poaching are having a devastating impact on tiger
populations across Asia.

Within a century wild tiger numbers have plummeted from more than 100,000 to fewer than 4,000.

John Seidensticker is a conservation biologist at Washington Zoo.

JOHN SEIDENSTICKER: Humans dominate every landscape today where tigers now live. The tiger poaching
and tiger trafficking in tiger parts and products is at an all time high.

MICHAEL ROWLAND: But several countries are finding the task of saving tigers too expensive or
simply too hard.

That's why the World Bank is stepping in to bring a global focus to this conservation effort.

The Bank's President, Robert Zoellick, says saving the tiger is a truly international concern.

ROBERT ZOELLICK: Today's gathering demonstrates that saving the tiger is a global challenge just as
with many other challenges of sustainability such as climate change or pandemic disease or poverty,
the crisis that faces tigers overwhelms local capabilities and it is one that transcends national

MICHAEL ROWLAND: And as today's event proved there's no shortage of celebrity power behind the

Actress Bo Derek says tigers are ecologically and symbolically important.

BO DEREK: They are just a symbol of freedom and the fact that they are very likely going to be
extinct in the wild in our lifetime is just tragic.

MICHAEL ROWLAND: How close are we to that point?

BO DEREK: I think we are at the tipping point. Some estimates are 4,000. Some are less than 2,500
in the wild and this is something we can solve. I am sure of it. It just takes a commitment so it
is now or never.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: Bo Derek speaking to Washington correspondent Michael Rowland.